March 31, 2011

Denhart Baking Co.

By Eric Shangraw

March 31, 2011 Updated May 18, 2011 at 11:47 AM CDT

A Washington restaurant is using the history of its address to provide a matchless meal.

The Denhart Baking Company and Restaurant is a work of art on many levels.

Eric Shangraw is there for dinner in this week's You Gotta Eat.

On the north side of the square in Washington is a special business in what was a bank built in 1874. A local landmark. The Denhart Building has gone through multiple-makeovers. The latest is a taste of its original flavor.

"I worked in this town years back in the car business," said customer George Waller. "I used to bank here. And it just brings back a lot of memories," he said.

"I love the atmosphere," said customer Becky Kregar. "The decor is very fun. The old bank. And the food is excellent," she said.

"I like the old virgin pine floors. The knotting," pointed out customer Paul Kregar. "What they've done here with this building overall on the square in Washington is just fantastic," he said.

The original bank teller windows are still in place. And now they leave the vault wide open for anyone to explore. Its a miniature gift shop.

In the Denhart kitchen, almost every item is made by hand.

"We pride ourselves on fresh quality food," said manager Mark O'Connell. "We make just about everything from scratch. We make our own pies here. We make our own chicken salad from scratch," he said.

Photographer Doug Smith and I started with salads. They're hearty starters with freshly diced green pepper, tomato, onion and cucumber.

Doug had pork chops. They give you twins. Six-once bone is babies he had flame-broiled. Nice and juicy. I had Henry's Special. This is a working man's pick. Hot fresh roast beef piled high on bread with mashed potatoes suffocated by gravy. A colorful vegetable of the day along the side. I couldn't finish the roast beast. -needed to save room for pie. We added coconut cream and chocolate cream to our accounts. The bank puts out a gold standard dessert.

Our bill; $36.71 plus tip.

The Denhart has a banquet room featuring old photos with a visual lesson on Washington's downtown history.

To continue the adventure, the bank's basement is the C-Note Pub. Open in the evenings. No children allowed. This quiet get away allows you to sip a micro brew from Boulder, Colorado and forget the days worries. More therapy is out the door on the square. After its winter slumber, the fountain is again helping sooth anyone who overeats.

The Denhart Baking Company is open seven days a week.

The C-Note Pub is open Tuesday through Saturday starting at four.

Denhart Baking Co. & Restaurant
101 Washington Square
Washington, IL
Tuesday-Thursday 7am-8pm
Friday-Saturday 7am-9pm
Sunday 9am-2pm
Monday 7am-2pm

The C-Note Pub
Tuesday-Thursday 4pm-10pm
Friday-Saturday 4pm-midnight

You can order from either the pub menu or restaurant menu downstairs.